At its best, architecture not only shapes buildings, it also shapes the experience of those inside them. Anyone attending services at Holy Cross Lutheran would find it easy to agree with this bit of wisdom.
With the gracefully curved surfaces of its sanctuary and stage harmoniously balanced against the angles of its vaulted ceilings, open spaces, and light-toned walls, this newly built church sitting atop a hill overlooking the city, engenders a welcoming, peaceful feeling among worshippers.
The chance to light this transformative space was an eagerly anticipated opportunity for Chandler Mann and the team at Covenant Communications. However, it was also one that was not without its challenges.
“This is a very special building with its cavernous architecture, traditions, and modern ambience,” said Mann. “I love being pushed to utilise white canvases, such as the one we have here, with lighting. Black backdrops are fun and have their perfect place, but all lighting designers worth their salt dream of filling an ethereal space with atmosphere and power.
“Working heavily with white architectural environments over the past five years has truly forced me to hand the reigns over and to trust the artistic licenses of architects and designers,” continued Mann. “They’re pursuing an art, just as I am, and I’m honoured to help their creations shine.”
Aiding Mann in his quest to support the church’s architecture were 42 CHAUVET Professional fixtures. Included in this collection were 16 Ovation E-260WW ellipsoidals, 12 Ovation F-145WW Fresnels, 10- COLORado 1-Quad wash lights, and four COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 linear units. DMX signals are sent to these fixtures via two RDMX-8 units; and the rig is controlled by a ChamSys MagicQ MQ50.
Hung overhead in two rows on the triangular ceiling above the sage, the Fresnel fixtures provide soft washes. The ellipsoidal fixtures are also positioned overhead on three rows to provide stage and key lighting, while the colour rendering washes are positioned throughout the church to accent its distinctive architectural features.
All of the fixtures in the rig have the output and focus to work well with the ambient light entering through the church’s windows, which are artfully located behind the stage and on either side of the sanctuary in two rows.
“It was really an enjoyable challenge working in this simple, yet beautiful space,” said Mann. “We benefited from a wonderful level of support during this process, particularly from our friend Greg Labruzzi. Among the things I really liked was balancing what we did against the ambient light in the building.”
Through this balance, the church’s interior achieves an even greater level of harmony, calling to mind the words of one architect that “light is the beautifier of a building.” His name was Frank Lloyd Wright.